DECATUR– The fate of several nuclear power plants owned by Exelon in Illinois remains in limbo as an agreement on whether or not to provide the company with the tax breaks he company says it needs to stay profitable has yet to be reached by lawmakers.
Last year the company said it wanted tax breaks from the state that are similar to those given to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, in order to stay profitable and to keep their plants in Clinton, Byron, and Cordova, open.
With just four days left in the spring session, State Representative Bill Mitchell says he believes an agreement is in the works, though it may not be done until 2016, “I’m cautiously optimistic that in the next year we will see at least something in regards to a plan. I think that we will have talks during the summer and again in the fall if needed. I’m confident that we will have something ready to be voted on by the fall and certainly next spring.”
Exelon Corp. issued a statement Wednesday saying it won’t make a decision on the future of its plants until after lawmakers adjourn their spring session, scheduled for Saturday
“The health of the Clinton power plant is vitally important, not just to DeWitt County, but to Macon, and McLean, as well because of the number of people who live in those counties but work at the plant,” Mitchell added.
Mitchell said he thinks lawmakers should take their time in crafting the right legislation because an energy auction earlier this year earned Exelon more money than previously expected. Because of the auction, Mitchell said the plant in Clinton will remain open at least through June of next year, whether or not they get a bill passed.
One published report said the closure of all three plants would cost the state roughly $1.7 billion in economic activity and put 7,800 people out of work.
Lawmakers still need to come up with a budget during the final week of the session. As of this week, Democrats and Republicans are still at ends on how to close the gap on an over $6.6 billion budget hole.